Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays 2014!

This year was pretty tumultuous for team Nyers-Petersen. Still, all things considered, we have it good and I can't complain.

One day in February we were having a really great day when we received a phone call from our landlord, telling us the owner of our house was selling it. We loved the place but had no intention of buying it, and our lease was up in June. So a mere 15 months after moving into the "house in the country" we began looking for another place to live.

We really loved this house. Here's a picture of the bunny who lived in the brush at the side of our drive:

And here is Alexandra helping Penelope learn to ride her bicycle in the turn-around, one of those rare moments where they were not bickering with each other!

And playing on the tire swing:

Shortly after we found out the house was up for sale (it went on the market the day after we were notified) the real estate agent asked if they could start doing showings. This was extremely stressful for us, on many levels. We were under no obligation to have the house pristine, but knowing how hard it can be to sell a place, we didn't want to leave it a mess, either. It's also very weird having strangers traipsing through your home.

The day after the first showing, our house was robbed. This really freaked the kids out - especially Penelope, as the burglars had moved a few things around in her room in stealing their iPod, and that was how I first discovered what had happened. She talked about "the bad people" for months afterwards.

The burglary had nothing to do with the house showing, but after that we decided to ask that they hold off on showings for a while and let us out of our lease early. We began looking for a new place and found a rental from a nice couple just outside of Corvallis.

Several months later, we got a call from the Albany police station asking if some of the items they had in evidence were ours. It turned out they had caught our thieves the day after they had robbed us, but they were being charged for other crimes, and there was nothing to tie them back to our report. They finally pieced it together because they found a video camera of ours and on it, Alexandra was saying her full name. Anyway - long story short, we got all of our stuff back except for my wedding ring and a couple of necklaces (and the iPod, darn it).  It was a surreal experience.

As you all know, my dad, Bent Petersen, passed away in April. He was unwell and had been hospitalized a couple of times before that, but it still seemed very sudden. I was reminded many, many times this year how amazingly wonderful my family is. In the summer, we held a party to celebrate him, and everyone was there. I think my uncle said it was the first time he had met my cousins from the other side of the family (I *think* that's what he said - this was after we had both had quite a bit of wine and beer, so I'm not entirely sure).  It was amazing to see all the countless ways that my father had influenced other people's lives.

One of the best moments of the party was when my Uncle Dal brought out his bagpipes and started giving lessons. This became a sort of test (one I was too chicken to try!). Melanie killed it!  By which I mean, she was great!

My cousin John played some great music, and there was much food and fun. Dad really would have approved.

Summer was busy. Wonderful things grew in our garden, without any input from us (remnants of the previous tenants' efforts).

We had a lot of fun watching different things spring up all over the garden. As it was our first year here, we had no idea how many flowers are in this yard. Whoever planted them all did a great job of making sure something is blooming, pretty much all the time. It's wonderful.

In the summer, Alex went with his mom Lorraine to New Jersey to help his grandmother Frances pack up a lifetime of belongings and move out to Oregon.  It was a whirlwind of change, and deserved some celebration once complete - so we celebrated:

Penelope's birthday was a pretty quiet affair, but she had a good time.

In July, we went to the La De Da parade in Yachats, and I took the kids down to the beach (July 4 is about the only time you can play on the beach in Oregon) and we all got sun-burns. Whoops.

Alex went to Idaho for the archaeology field school again, so he was gone July and August. The girls and I made the 1,000 mile round trip to visit him. We worked hard to find all the fun things there are to do in and around Cottonwood, Idaho.

 We made Alex a banner covered with ponies and butterflies when he came home. :)

Before summer ended, we took a little family trip to Astoria, Oregon, and visited the Enchanted Forest, Powell's bookstore, and the Columbia River Maritime Museum (where you can tour a once-operational light ship).  Penelope also overcame her fear of swimming in the hotel pool, by jumping into it over and over again for about 2 hours straight. She's such a Viking!

Other random stuff that happened this year:

In January, I went to a conference in Arizona. I had a good time, learned a lot, and was photographed (slightly tipsy) with this cute donkey:

And a giant rabbit cut-out, because...

In April, Alex and Karl presented a poster on their project Archie at the SAAs in Austin, Texas, which is a pretty groovy place:

Alexandra continued to be a fashionista and book worm. Also she grew some giant mushrooms:

We took off for a long weekend to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to celebrate how awesome she is, and she discovered that: a) she loves clams, and b) she knows as much about seaweed as the aquarist who grows it and gave the tour we took (which is to say: a lot).

 Penelope drew and painted A LOT. Every day, for hours at a time. And when she wasn't drawing, she was building things, or destroying them. Whatever.

Alexandra had an awesome Halloween-themed birthday party, with numerous friends dressed in crazy costumes:

Alex did lots of SCIENCE:

And I started drawing a lot and built a webcomic site:
In other random news, I paid off my student loans, which was a huge relief. Alex got funding to work full-time as a researcher at OSU. Penelope started Kindergarten. And Alexandra learned how to sew. I am too lazy to go look for pictures to commemorate these events.  :P

So, there's our year in review. It takes a huge amount of effort to put this together, so I hope you enjoyed it!  :)

Happy holidays, everybody.

Love you, Dad.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jack and Gaz - 6/24

Penelope and I spent a couple hours hanging out with the kitties today, to give them some time to get more comfortable with us.  Gaz came out and wandered around, mostly looking out the windows.  Jack was being his usual crazy self - one second he's asking for attention, and the next he's hissing and running away. I finally decided to just pick him up and hold him for a few minutes, hoping he would calm down, but he was already too worked up.  I think I'll try that again, but next time with treats.  :) 

I moved the cat food in the hopes that the ants wouldn't find it, and sure enough, they hadn't (yet). In fact, we only found two ants in the apartment today.  Anyway, the kitties are still doing well. Here's hoping they get used to us soon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Jack and Gaz - 6/22

Jack was much mellower today. The girls fed him snackies while I fought silly ants trying to steal the cat food. Gaz still mostly hid out of sight. Jack followed Alexandra around mewing like a little kitten, and Alexandra reported that he was saying "I miss Jessica!" - heh.  :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jack and Gaz - 6/20

 6/20 - We stopped by in the evening again and Jack was in a grumpy mood. He acted really sweet out in the living room, but really territorial and feisty in the bedroom. Again, he seemed terrified of the kids.  I told the girls to just stay in the living room and that seemed to work out better.  The kitties had just about emptied their feeder, so I filled it up again. They are eating and pooping, just like good little kitties.  :) 

Jack and Gaz - 6/19

6/19 - The girls and I stopped by in the evening and brought some catnip. We rubbed the catnip on some kitty toys and Jack hid under the couch and played with them. Jack was acting very high strung - I think he is pretty terrified of the kids.We stayed for about an hour and watched an episode of Doctor Who, but Gaz hid under the bed, and Jack hid under the couch the whole time. Silly kitties!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jack and Gaz - 6/18

6/18 - Gaz is being super playful and friendly today. She came right up to say hi when I came in. I gave her a tiny piece of cheese from my sandwich, and she proceeded to lick it around the floor until it was in little crumbs. Jack just looked at me like "what the hell is this?" and then tried to take a bite of my sandwich. Apparently one little piece of cheese was not enough!
Jack is obnoxious but cute. He won't let me pet him. Instead, he wants me to put my hand down where he can rub against it; if I move my hand he freaks out.
I tossed a couple of toys for Jack and he half-heartedly jogged after them, then looked at me as if to say "make it move."
Gaz is now galloping around the apartment. Somehow she manages to sound like a cat five times her size. That's a lot of noise for a little kitty!
Next time on Jack and Gaz: I think I'll bring some fresh kitty toys.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 Nyers Family Happenings

Our first big news for 2011 was that we got a new kitty: Pearl. We rescued her from the shelter. She was just a year old, but had just finished weening five kittens.

Our other cat, Neo, who is now 12 years old, hasn't quite forgiven us.

So we got a kitty condo to soften the blow. Penelope helped Alex build it.

Now the kitties tolerate each other at least.

We finally gave in and conceded that, seeing as how we are in fact parents, it was high time to buy a minivan. It was an immediate hit with the kids, who decided that it was basically a portable play area.

In February, Alex took Alexandra fishing, and she caught several suicidal trout.

In April, we took a family vacation to the Redwoods in Northern California. It rained buckets, and Penelope hated hiking, but we managed to have fun anyway. On the way back, we visited the Prehistoric Gardens.

In May, we went to Portland to see the Trailer Park Boys show for our anniversary. They were even funnier live, but the best entertainment was all the Portland hippies in the audience.  :)

We stayed at the super-fun Jupiter Hotel, where you can decorate your hotel room door with chalk. Cookie Monster! 

Alex kept busy all year writing his thesis and doing other work for the anthropology department. In May, he gave a "tan sack" presentation on his work.

June was a busy month. Alex spent 10 days in Akureyri, Iceland, and gave a talk at the Arctic Peoples anthropology conference about the King Island Placename website project and electronic data curation in general. Iceland was beautiful, and Alex had a great trip.

Penelope's 2nd birthday party in July was a big affair. Everyone was able to make it, which was fabulous! For weeks afterwards, Penelope was saying: "I love birthdays!"

Alex spent July and August at another dig in Idaho, this time at the Cooper's Ferry site. He found some more chert sources for his thesis, and successfully piloted his new Archie artifact entry system (the cute little Dell notebooks).

For the last week of the dig, Alexandra flew out (by herself!) to meet up with her daddy in Idaho and help out on the dig.

Kirsten kept busy all Summer with the girls and with family. We ate a lot of lovely salads made from the contents of our harvest boxes - locally grown organic food, yum!

Penelope discovered that she loves hummus with fresh veggies.

And we had good company to keep us busy.

Penelope and Alexandra kept us on our toes all year, but got along amazingly well.

Despite the difference in their ages, the girls often work together as a team.

Alexandra spent most of this last year with her nose in a book, but she also became more outgoing and adventurous, too.


Penelope really came into her own. She talked non-stop, bossed us all around, and posed for a lot of cute pictures.


In October, Kirsten went to Boston for a work conference and got to check out her parents' old stomping grounds in Cambridge.

Alexandra's seventh birthday in October was a busy time, so we didn't have a party, but we were lucky to have Great Grandma Frances visiting from New Jersey. We all went to OMSI to see BodyWorks and everyone had a great time.

In November, Kirsten and Alexandra went to Vancouver, Canada for Great Grandma Grethe's funeral. Alexandra got to meet her cousins - Sara, Grace and Matteo - for the first time.

Overall, it was a busy but productive year. We can't complain.

Happy new year to all our friends and family!

-The Nyers/Petersen Clan